Franklin school board announces timeline for hiring new superintendent

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Franklin’s school board decided on and announced its timeline for hiring a new superintendent for Franklin City Public Schools at a special called meeting of the school board, held Monday at 11 a.m. in the school board conference room in city hall.

The hiring process is expected to take approximately two and a half months, during which time the board will work closely with representatives from the Virginia School Boards Association. The board hopes to announce their new superintendent by April 19 and have him or her take office by June 19.

According to two representatives of the VSBA who attended the board meeting on Monday, the first task in the hiring process is to distribute a survey to residents of Franklin asking what qualities they would like the board to look for in a new superintendent. The board created that survey Monday afternoon, and it is now available online at and on the home page of the division website. Hard copies of the survey will also be available at the school board administration office, at each of Franklin’s schools, and at the Franklin library.

The deadline for completion of the survey is Tuesday, Feb. 14. In addition to the survey, the board will also solicit public comments on their search during a public hearing, which will be held Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers of city hall. Following the hearing, the board will decide on the qualifications they are seeking.

“We want to make sure we include and involve as many stakeholders as possible in this process,” said School Board Chairman Bob Holt, “This is the number one priority for the Franklin City School Board and the board will work diligently to find the next leader of the school division.”

According to VSBA Executive Director Gina Patterson, FCPS staff are encouraged to speak during the hearing, but everyone should keep in mind that the hearing is to discuss qualities of a superintendent and not to throw out names for nomination.

“A name is not a quality; you need to keep it on the qualities,” Patterson said.

The day after the hearing, the board will hold their regular scheduled meeting for February, at which time they will send their list of qualifications to VSBA representatives.

Patterson also discouraged the board from using the word “required” rather than “preferred” for too many of their criteria.

“When you say something is required, you’re locked into that,” she said. “You may have eliminated 15 candidates at that point.”

On Feb. 17, the superintendent position will officially open and interviews with candidates will begin March 17. The VSBA will help screen all applicants for references and to ensure they meet both the board’s requirements and the requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia prior to the interviews, but board members will be able to see every application as it comes in.

By state law, the process for a school board to select a new superintendent can take no more than 180 days. However, FCPS was granted a legal extension last year because during the weeks between the termination of former Supt. Dr. Willie J. Bell and the board’s Dec. 19 meeting, there was technically no school board to begin the process.